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Russia, Ukraine to revive An-70 joint project - defense minister

KIEV, February 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will resume a joint project with Ukraine to build An-70 military transport aircraft after an almost 2-year delay in setting up the program, the Ukrainian defense minister said on Friday.

Russia withdrew from the program in May 2006 to build the giant plane, which was launched in 1984, on the grounds that it was outdated.

"Russia has confirmed that it will continue this work, and we will jointly construct the An-70. This was personally disclosed to me by my Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov," Yuriy Yekhanurov said.

The minister also said, "The project needs some $300 million in funding and around 18 months to complete."

The An-70 program, which would have a larger payload capacity than the U.S. C-130 Hercules, has experienced a number of setbacks. Major concerns surround the D-27 turboprop fan engines designed by Ukraine's Progress design bureau.

The first prototype was involved in a mid-air collision in 1995, while the second prototype crash landed in January 2001 during a test flight near Omsk, Russia.

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